The fallacy regarding the event planning industry is no secret to industry insiders. “The biggest misconception is that we’re in the business of party planning,” says Gianna Gaudini in her new book, “The Art of Event Planning: Pro Tips From an Industry Insider.”
In it, she focuses on the full scope of challenges and rewards of event planning and offers a wealth of insider knowledge on the profession for new planners as well as seasoned experts.
Gaudini’s knowledge stems from nine years as an award-winning executive event producer for Google and 15 years in the hospitality industry. She recently joined the Softbank Vision Fund as global head of events.
“Corporate event planning is one of the top five most stressful jobs,” Gaudini said in an interview with Prevue. “There is always a deadline and multiple stakeholders to manage. It’s not for the faint of heart. You’re not enjoying a party. You’re behind the scenes doing all the work nobody sees.”
Within its nearly 200 pages of tips, anecdotes, and advice, Gaudini shares her successes and challenges when it comes to planning events. Horror stories include the time when two weeks before a major event, the production agency was dissolved. Luckily, Gaudini had a great relationship with another agency that was able to help.
“Going into event planning, you need to be flexible, to be able to manage stress, communicate with a team on a regular basis, and manage pressure,” she says. “It’s a glamorous sounding job, but can be quite rigorous.”
She considers her biggest event planning success as helping to build and lead Google’s largest external conference, Google Cloud Next, for three years in a row. She started with the inception of the event in 2017 and managed it onsite while eight months pregnant. The second year she helped double the attendance to 26,000 attendees.
Her four top tips for success are:
Make every person feel like a VIP. Offer personalized experiences for everyone, whether it’s 50,000 people or 500. Make the content relevant to them, which is important today with respect to all of the current content overload.
Surprise and delight. Make events memorable. Find an area of events typically not enjoyable and infuse the element of surprise, such as if there is a long line, provide a donut cart and live music. Or arrange something unforgettable, like executives sky diving into events.
Focus on the consistency of your narrative. Make sure there is a consistent theme and messaging and the entire event experience is woven together holistically, or else people are confused by what you are communicating.
Create emotional experiences. Pay attention to what you want your attendees to think and feel. Creating emotional experiences is key to the success of an event.
Gaudini learned in the book-writing process the challenges in that field, as well. “Books are like marathons or having kids. So painful when you are in them, but after you forget and want to do it again.”